Conversations With Owls is a pleasantly subdued, avant-garde trio session from drummer Jeff Cosgrove, pianist Frank Kimbrough and bassist Martin Wind. The melodic dissonance and rhythmic decay have an insidious presence, and they need not be a primary component of a particular expression or passage for their presence to be felt. At times, on its face, the music comes off as a straight-forward modern piano trio recording, but the trio reveals the music’s true nature in subtle, delightfully restrained ways.
Yes, opening track “The Owls” is a peaceful song, but that serenity comes with the price of a pervasively ominous tension… the sense that the tranquility could be obliterated at any moment. “Stacks of Stars” sees that threat finally emerge, but the downpour of notes and beats is at least as beautiful as the peacefulness that preceded it.
Their dreamy rendition of “I Loves You Porgy” hovers just out of reach, adding a touch of suspense to accent its resplendent beauty. “Excitable Voices” is one long wakeful fit of activity, and “Forest Hunters” burrows deeper into the dissonance with bursts of controlled ferocity.
The trio’s inspired take on “My Favorite Things” is the album’s highlight. Subdued, and only allowing the melody to poke out occasionally, this rendition shines light on a facet of the original rarely revealed… the prevailing sadness and fear that overshadows everything.
The album closes things out with “The Shimmer,” which is an untidy bundle of rolling motion, but shaped by an innate tunefulness that keeps the song corralled and headed in a common direction.
A real vibrancy to this session, one that evokes plenty of imagery and intrigue. It’s also an album that tends to resonate with increasing strength as time allows its subtleties and nuance to becomes fully revealed. Highly recommended.
Your album personnel: Jeff Cosgrove (drums), Frank Kimbrough (piano) and Martin Wind (bass).
Listen to more of the album on the artist’s Bandcamp page.
This album is Self-Produced.
Jazz from Maryland.